Meet OPG members: Solange Ploeg

We would like to introduce you to the members of our School and show the diversity of the themes that are studied within the School. Every month, the mini-interview gives you a glimpse into one research project. This edition: PhD candidate Solange Ploeg (Radboud University).

What is your research project about? 
‘Daily opinion polls, politicians debating live on television and ministers as frequent guests at late-night talk shows: it is all currently part and parcel of electoral culture. But how did these new media practices emerge? And in what way did they change the relationship between citizens and politicians? In my PhD project, I explore how new media practices influenced Dutch post-war electoral culture (1945-1980) and contemporary ideas about political representation in particular.’

Would you describe your project as political history? Why (not)?
‘My PhD project focuses on media practices such as television debates, current affair shows, political commercials and opinion polls. I argue that these formed a framework through which citizens increasingly came to access and hence understand ‘the political’ in election time. In doing so, my thesis identifies popular expectations of democracy that these practices helped to articulate.’

What do you like most about your project?
‘I enjoy working together with my colleagues at the Political History department in Nijmegen and in particular the ‘Voice of the People’ team a lot. Presenting a collaborative paper together with Jamie, Malte and Harm in Germany last summer was definitively a highlight! Also, I like working with audiovisual primary sources. The CLARIAH Mediasuite has enabled me to research a range of television shows from the 1960s and 1970s, which were great fun to watch.’